Oprah should come and take a look for sheself
Stabroek News
November 15, 2001

Dear Editor,

Las Friday evening I drop in to dat place in Brooklyn, For Goodness Steak - best West Indian place I ever seen, and owned by Guyanese, too. All dem big guns from the embassies in Toronto and New York was dere. And Minister Rudy Insanally too. And the invitees look like an extraction from Who is Who, but only who interested in painting good pictures. Dey was launching dere magazine, My Guyana Eldorado, to boost tourism in Guyana. I felt proud at the quality of the presentation of the magazine. Good stuff inside. I never knew Guyana had so many holiday resorts now, especially advertising eco-tourism.

So when I lef de place I knew what my duty was, especially since Oprah did her share. So I popped in another West Indian place and bounce up a bunch of men from the Caribbean boasting about dey country.

I joined dem, and after a few drinks I, too, feelin a little like braggy Balgobin. Only ting, I wasn't braggin, I was telling the truth. Most of it anyway. Well, the big fella sitting opposite me say, "haul you granny, GT man, my island bigger dan your island." I tell he, "homeboy, like you still living in de Maroontown or what? Listen, we got a tennis court, nice and grassy, a lil hilly of course, but bigger, much bigger than the whole of your island. And for the net - we gat a mountain range called the Kanaku Mountains.

A fella wid a Westminster accent, looking a little like Sobers, said, "Your country is certainly lorge, but you connot attruct tourists owing to your muddy (I thought his 'm' sounded like 'bl') mud flat beaches." "On de contrary, sir, on de contrary", I replied. "We hove some of the best domn beaches in de worl, in de interior, of course, wid sand all colors of the rainbow, and de water too, some blue, some red. Man, you drink dat and eat labba, you doan want to go to heaven."

Dis odder fella, his fingers all covered wid what he really believe is gold, and he neck gat some punt chains said, "man alyu country too poor, we got oil." I told him, "da brass wha you raas wearing dey is only painted wid gold water. And I pull out a piece of rock from me pocket dat had some gold splinters imbedded in it. (I must tell you, I once did an overland trip from Georgetown to Kaieteur Falls, passing through the Mazaruni, considered one of the richest gold bearing regions in the world, and a porkknockers gave me the rock) "Dis is what real gold look like," I told him. Tek a good look, because is de fust time you seeing gold, and it might be de las, unless you go to Guyana." When he saw the rock his eyes popped out of his head and almost fell into my drink. "Is whey you get that from, mon?" And he look like he ready to book he passage to Guyana, so I decided to sell him some more. "Man, tings like dese you does stump you foot on and suck you teeth in de Mazaruni."

Den dis fella with the French accent who keep saying he love martini more dan eldorado, spring up suddenly like a volcano popping out indecently out a de ocean, pointin he finger up to speak like an angry driver giving you de sign, and I told him, "down boy, down," (I think, he name was even Rover, too.) And he mouth lef open like a fish bone stick in he throat. I said, "we in GT doan have no volcano, nor earthquake, nor hurricane. God really put his individual hand into making de green mansion we call Guyana. He selected some of the best things to put there. He put de biggest sweet water fish in de world called the arapaima, de largest game bird in de world, the powis. He put the tallest waterfall in de worl in Guyana. And I took a tall drink to let it soak in.

Another guy who say he from Saint Something spoke. "Alyu always boastin bout you Kaieteur Falls. Why don't you talk about someting man-made. So I swallow another drink. By dis time I getting a lil vex cause I feelin dat dem boys want to double bank me. But is about nine a dem, give or take that I was seeing double. "Look man, we gat the tallest wooden buildin in de world. We built the longest floating bridge in de world. And we now buildin a bridge across de Berbice River. Dat one is even longer dan the floating bridge across the Demerara. And when we ready to bridge the Essequibo River, man, we gon take all alyu islands and join dem together, but we still won't reach the odder side. We can take all alyu islands and baptize dem in the Essequibo River."

"Objecion, senor," said a slender man, standin up, his back bent over like de hump back a Notre Dame. "Not Cuba", and he gat he fist shakin in de air. I feel a lil intimidated, so I gree wid him. "Tru, tru. But you island look so squashy long and fine, it can do wid some vitamin. Look at de shape a Guyana, like a nice pretty woman, and talkin bout woman, we bin producing some world class beauties at Miss Worl Competition for longer dan any a you."

De waitress came up wid more drinks, and she swishin like she too in Miss Worl. She hang around a little, hearing me talk about the hardest timber in de world like wallaba, and how de greenheart can stand up even underwater. "You Guyanee, you boastin so. What else you have good and big in Guyana?" I told her, "everything. You must come, you gat to come to see".

So Oprah, we aint gat millions, but we trying to sell we country to nice tourists like you, not pawn it for cheap political ego. We invite you to come tek a look fu youself.

Yours faithfully,

Gokarran Sukhdeo